Sri Lanka opener Oshada Fernando struck a maiden century to delay Pakistan’s victory quest after the home team’s top four all scored hundreds in the second Test in Karachi on Sunday.
Set a daunting 476 runs to win, Sri Lanka were tottering at 97 for five before Oshada and Niroshan Dickwella halted the slide with a resolute 104-run stand for the sixth wicket.But the last three overs of the day saw Dickwella fall for 65 – bowled while attempting a reverse sweep off spinner Haris Sohail – and Dilruwan Perera caught behind off Naseem Shah for five.
The 16-year-old Naseem had the best figures of 3-31. At the close, Sri Lanka were 212 for seven with Oshada (102 not out) at the crease and with the visitors needing an unlikely 264 runs for victory.
Pakistan need just three wickets on Monday to win the series – their first at home since the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka side resulted in international cricket being suspended in the country.Pakistan earlier declared their second innings at lunch on 555 for three after Azhar returned to form with 118 and Babar Azam struck 100 not out. It was a dismal batting show by the Sri Lankans on a National Stadium pitch where the home batsmen flourished.
Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne went for 16, Kusal Mendis for a duck and Angelo Matthews for 19 before tea.
Pace spearhead Mohammad Abbas had Karunaratne caught behind in the tenth over of the innings before Naseem had Mendis snapped up in the slips. It became 70 for three when Mathews, Sri Lanka’s most experienced batsman, edged a short delivery from Shaheen Shah Afridi to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan.
After tea, young Naseem accounted for Dinesh Chandimal (two) and leg-spinner Yasir Shah dismissed Dhananjaya de Silva (nought) to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 97 for five.